Joshua 1:9 “Have I not
commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be
discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
FACT—According to The Book of Lists, the
fear of public speaking ranks number one in the minds of the majority of
people. Far above the fear of death and disease, comes the fear of standing in
front of a crowd.
AND—to be a successful author you are encouraged—no
urged—to take up public speaking in order to promote those books you spent
hours, months, years, decades, writing.
BUT—you do not want to stand on a stage
in front of people and talk. It doesn’t matter if there are five people in the
audience or 500. “Please,” your quaking heart begs, “anything but that!”
SO—what are you going to do? Let those
amazing books that God worked out through your mind and through your fingers to
your laptop, just to be buried in the forgotten ranks of obscure books long
No way!! Do I hear an “amen”?
Not long ago I was
terrified of public speaking. The few times that I had said yes, the events had
turned out wonderful, the Lord worked through me to encourage faith in the
listeners. My mentors cheered me on to stick with the speaking. Little did they
know that for months before those engagements and shortly afterward I would be
There were a few things
that I did to combat this crippling fear.
- I took
the Toastmasters course on Public Speaking. A friend of mine who had earned a
university degree in Communications said that she learned more from Toastmasters
than she had on any course. Through this course I really learned how to develop
a speech and how to look and sound professional. I cannot recommend this
organization highly enough.
- Then I
started saying yes to those who asked me to speak. I know it’s hard, but once
you say yes, you are committed and God will help you through it. He promises
that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
- I asked a huge crew of people to pray for me in this, and they were faithful.
Nothing was sweeter than having a group of elderly ladies come up to me each
week in church and squeeze me in a hug and tell me they were praying for my
this is a personal thing, and maybe you won’t need to go the same route as me.
I went to my doctor. Thank goodness the Lord gave me a Christian doctor that I
could openly talk to about my panic over speaking. As a Christian he understood
my spiritual strengths, my physical and emotional weaknesses, and my calling.
My doctor prescribed for me a mild antidepressant, because unbeknownst to me I
was suffering from panic attacks. This worked for me in the months ahead.
Instead of letting my fear of the speaking event build up each day, my medication
took the edge off.
- And I
practiced my speech, and I practiced, and I practiced. I stood at my kitchen counter
when everyone else was out of the house, until I knew that speech backwards and
forwards. I even practiced each gesture, walking to my countertop as if it were
a stage, and walking off. Even thanking imaginary people who introduced me,
The first few times were
hard, I won’t lie to you. But now I get up on the stage and my knees don’t
shake. I can smile and laugh, and appear totally at home there, even if for a
moment I forget where I am in my speech. I’m going out tonight to speak at a
local Christian bookstore for their church librarians’ night. This June I have four
It’s been such a joy to
hear from the organizers of these events, that after I have spoken, lives have
actually been touched for the Lord Jesus Christ. Decisions have been made. When
I heard that, a tingle ran down my spine. God did that…through me? Wow!!!!
And, a little side
blessing that cannot compare with people following Christ—I actually sold some
books. Take heart. Be of great courage.